The first Portland Trail Blazers preseason game is in the books! They came up short in Vancouver BC, falling to the Toronto Raptors 122-104.
I’m not going to lie to you: This game was pretty meaningless. Heck, it’s the first time the Blazers have played a game prior to their annual Fan Fest scrimmage (which is tomorrow at Moda, and it’s free btw!). The Blazers bench went 17 deep, and Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum did not return after the first quarter. Meyers Leonard held the scoring honors with 16 points. We can glean some basic ideas from the game, but it’s not exactly a great predictor for the regular season.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way... here are some key takeaways from this game:
- Minutes for everyone! Meaningful minutes for no one! Coach Terry Stotts always planned to spread the minutes for every active player, giving each one a chance to get court time without worry. The last players to reach the hardwood: Gary Payton II and Cam Oliver, in the fourth quarter. No one player stood out.
- Those twists on offense were no joke. As our former writer (and new staff member of NBC Sports Northwest) Dane Delgado explained, Stotts’ Media Day commentary about offensive adjustments were legit. But in the end, they still looked like the same team we saw last season overall.
- Underhand free throws? As David MacKay recently explained, Chinanu Onuaku is trying to crack a mostly-full Blazers roster, and will openly consider a two-way contract. He’s also not afraid to do anything necessary to get that chance: Despite confusion from the Vancouver crowd, he shot two free throws underhanded. They cheered and encouraged him during his second set later. He made 2 of 4 overall.
- It’s preseason for the refs, too. The whistles didn’t stop all night, as the fouls racked up Portland tallied over 40 fouls on the night.
- Hey, did you hear that Kawhi Leonard changed teams? If not, the fans and TSN’s (very good!) broadcasters reminded you regularly. You never got a chance to forget.
The Blazers pick things up tomorrow night for Fan Fest. Yep, we’ll have a Gameday Thread, but an extended analysis article is probably unnecessary. On the other hand, extended analysis of tonight’s game will be written by Dan Marang later this evening.